The 2012 college football season is right around the corner and as the kickoff looms closer, Rant Sports will dissect stats about every SEC team in their By The Numbers series. In this edition, we take a look at the South Carolina Gamecocks.
8: The number of sacks by defensive end Jadaveon Clowney in 2011. Clowney was exactly what the South Carolina Gamecocks and coach Steve Spurrier expected. A dominant defensive end. The sophomore accumulated his eight sacks on a limited number of snaps last season but is expected to play a larger role for the Gamecocks after exhibiting a greater knowledge of the playbook. The sky is the limit for this extremely talented defensive lineman.
27: The number of career touchdowns by running back Marcus Lattimore. The junior back had 17 trips into the end zone his freshman season and 10 last year in a injury shortened season. Lattimore is now healthy,adding another dimension to the offense of the South Carolina Gamecocks. He also rushed for more than 1100 yards in his freshman season, making repeating that feat a near certainty this season. If his knee holds up of course. If Lattimore does make it through the season with his health intact, do not be surprised to see him in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy.
3: The ranking of the Gamecock defense as a whole out of every FBS school. Last year was a year of defense for the Southeastern conference and South Carolina was a part of this trend. The team also finished with the nation’s second best pass defense allowing an average of 131.7 yards a game through the air. Though the South Carolina Gamecocks will be without last year’s defensive star Melvin Ingram and Stephon Gilmore, the team has more than enough to talent to replace both players.
14:The number of touchdowns thrown by Connor Shaw in 2011. Shaw was thrust into the starting quarterback job after Steve Spurrier deemed Stephen Garcia unworthy of the title, Garcia was later booted from the team. Recruited as a dual-threat quarterback out of high school, Shaw performed admirably in his starts last season. The key? A limited number of passing attempts each game. This trend should continue due to the return of Lattimore to the Gamecock defense. Though that will also open up the passing game for Shaw. Expect more touchdowns for him this season.
Chris Lionetti covers the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as a College Football Writer for Rant Sports.
Follow him on twitter at: @ChrisLionetti